ON NE SAIT PLUS QUOI PENSER DU SERPENT QUI A PEUR
A swirling amalgam of audacious colour collisions, consumer imagery, and unholy material matrimony, Angelique Heidler’s painterly pursuits are anything but discrete. With an execution that refuses to privilege the foreground over the background, Heidler’s ludic approach to evenly-layered composition punctures the floodgates of interpretation, opening up multiple channels of access for viewers. In Heidler’s studio, carefully harvested materials of diverse origins are a tool for enriching the worlds that she constructs in her paintings. Heilder’s first solo exhibition, On ne sait plus quoi penser du serpent qui a peur, presents ten works indicative of her intuitive talents of composition and storytelling, which often walk the tightrope between the polar extremes of irony and naivete.
Heidler’s ability to comically appropriate symbolic tropes in visual culture is at its paramount in this body of work, where Heidler’s figurative and formal experiments mock the grand narratives of our time. Heidler materializes these ideas with imaginative scenes and features that demand nuance and lightheartedness. The trappings of gift wrapping stand in as tongue-in-cheek symbols of apparent obfuscation. In Efes and Adieu foulard, adieu Madras, adieu grain d’or, adieu collier choux, Heidler overlays plaid patterned and casino-themed papers onto the corners of her canvases; a dually decorative and critical gesture for highlighting the embedded philosophies of economic success and materialism under capitalism. In other works, a mix of found images and freely rendered depictions of conventionally attractive feminine figures unearth anxieties perpetuated by mass-advertising and gendered behaviours. Cute characters — including a friendly kite, a trio of drunken frogs, and our unlikely hero, the timid snake — appear sporadically throughout these works, a gentle reminder that one cannot discern substance from a glance.
As our beloved snake will inevitably shed and replenish its reptilian exterior, Heidler’s conceptual and technical strategies will continue to be reinvented. Undeniably, On ne sait plus quoi penser du serpent qui a peur marks an exciting juncture in Heidler’s practice; one where her affinity for abstraction and her pointed criticality have tangled around the other in a concentrated act of constriction.